Same Page – Prepping for Chemical Bed Bug Treatment

I love this picture from http://www.organizemyhouse.comIt reminds me of a typical kids room when pest control would go out to start a bed bug treatment and the client would say, “I told my kids what needed to be done but they didn’t do it”.

On Sunday evenings, the IBBRA Bed Bug Hotline is flooded with calls from people that have questions about prepping for chemical treatment for the next day. Because most people don’t even look at the list until Sunday morning, they are often overwhelmed with the extent of the list. They realize that it is much more work than they anticipated and have lots of questions pertaining to the process. Of course, they called their pest control company but to no avail, no one answers the phone on Sunday (nor should they -everyone needs a day off) and they are left to scan the internet for answers.

It is always blamed on the pest control company because people feel they should have someone to answer their questions at their convenience. Funny how people feel that they are so entitled! Surely, some people tell me that since they are paying so much for the treatment that the pest control company should be doing all the work.

They have no clue.

Right up front, I let them know that since there are so many different scenarios that have to be taken into consideration when it comes to bed bugs, I couldn’t possibly make alternative suggestions nor go against whatever it says on the list that was given to them from their professional.

I have no problem helping to walk them through the process if they had not already hired someone to do the job but I would never attempt to change or go against their pest control company procedures.

Because of this, I decided to share a simple but powerful introduction to bed bug treatment preparation so that people fully understand that it may not be something that you can do in the later part of a day before a treatment and in most cases needs a few days up to a week to prepare.

Bed Bug Education isn’t an Option – it’s Mandatory!

For most of you, getting rid of bed bugs is the easy part, providing the client does exactly what is needed to prepare and do their follow-up. The problem we all face is lack of corporation but you have to be “specific” if you expect your clients to be part of the solution.

I’m sure that if I did a swot analysis of more pest control companies, I would be able to define your weaknesses in client communication right up front. Whether you realize it or not, these are threats to your bottom line each year. Your time, is money and your reputation is all you have.

All of this is part of the upfront education that  pest control companies need to be addressing with their clients. You can’t just hand them a contract to sign and a single sheet for prep and walk away leaving them to fend for themselves if you expect it to be done right.

Moreover, I suggest not complaining that your clients don’t have their prep done right if you haven’t taken the time to let them know that prepping is the most important part of the process in order to eliminate the problem completely.

For close to a decade, the IBBRA had their thumb on the pulse of obstructions that accompany communication problems and frustrations between clients and companies. Whenever we found a need to provide information to assist pest control, we created it for them. The list has grown throughout the years full of data specific materials that address bed bug problems for pest management. All these materials are customized for each company with their logo and contact information and easily printed out to hand to their clients.

As an example of the 70+ documents, we provide to our IBBRA members, these documents are updated and revised yearly. I have placed our opening statement for our chemical prep sheet below. The complete prep sheets details every possible situation so you don’t have to spend hours in upfront education with your clients.

I hope this can help more of you!

Stress the Importance!

We always suggest that you tell your client upfront, not to hold off reading the prep sheet until the night before a treatment as it entails a lengthy process that may take days to prepare depending upon the residents, dwelling condition and extent of the infestation.

Preparing For Chemical Bed Bug Treatment

Chemical treatment for bed bugs requires complete cooperation and compliance which is essential to ensure the most effective and successful results. Thorough preparation may present a considerable hardship for (handicapped or senior individuals) and may need time considerations and additional assistance.

A thorough and successful treatment cannot be achieved while there is excess clutter. Removal of excessive clutter is mandatory. Let them know you will conduct an inspection to get a sense of the full extent of the problem and to prevent the disturbance and spread of bed bugs before treatment.

IMPORTANT NOTE: These following detailed instructions must be performed before any treatment can commence. Failure to have your unit prepared will cause rescheduling costs and your technician will not provide treatment to any unit or dwelling that has not met these preparations. We reserve the right to refuse to perform any service if the property is not properly prepared for any bed bug treatment. If you should have any questions regarding the content included in this preparation guide, please do not hesitate to contact us.

DO NOT MOVE ANYTHING FROM INFESTED ROOMS WITHOUT PROPERLY WRAPPING AND SEALING TO AVOID THE SPREADING OF BED BUGS

Make sure to prepare and put aside, two weeks of clothing items for each member of the family.

When you are sitting with your client and signing a contract, it is at this time that you ask them to read the prep sheet in full and SIGN HERE ________________________.

If your client has a problem with it, you may have to schedule treatment at a later date when they feel they can have the list completed. Give your client a call BEFORE you show up asking if the prep list was completed – you can save yourself a trip. Don’t waste your companies or techs precious time with a client that isn’t willing to work with you. There is no amount of money that is worth it – you will find that it will cost you more in the end if you don’t.

The IBBRA is always looking for new members that want to be part of our team! You become part of a community of respected bed bug professionals. As a community of likeminded professionals, we are dedicated to eliminating bed bug infestations through environmentally sound practices and the most comprehensive and valuable educational resources available. Reach out to us; we’d like to welcome you aboard!

http://ibbra.org/become-a-member/ or email us for an application at contact@ibbra.org

 

Go From Powerless to Powerful – Bed Bugs and Tenants!

So many property owners are having bed bug problems! They feel powerless because even after repeated treatments, the bed bug still keep coming. Makes one wonder what are they doing wrong.

Infestations are Completely Avoidable

It never ceases to amaze me how some of the best success stories come from the biggest failures. The truth is, that one doesn’t have to get bed bug infestations and infestations are completely avoidable. (If you are paying attention and doing your due diligence)

After years of listening to the bed bug woes of renters and owners of rental properties (and having been a property owner myself), the bottom line is, bed bugs deeply affects your ROI. For most, that bottom line is their retirement account and without a proactive common sense plan in place, the bed bug treatments will easily drain it until there is nothing left for retirement.

I recently spoke to a man that was so upside-down because of constant bed bug treatments that he went into foreclosure and lost his building. Another woman couldn’t afford a professional and attempted self-treatment for close to a year that failed – she got in her car and drove away, never to return.

Major Concerns for both Tenants and Property Owners

  • The major tenant concern nowadays is moving into a unit or building that already has or had bed bugs.
  • The biggest concern for the property owner is whether their tenant will bring bed bugs into their unit upon move-in or somewhere down the line and not be susceptible to their bites.

Since November 2016, I have been working with a property owner of 40 units who was suffering with repeated bed bug outbreaks. He had eighteen back-to-back professional chemical treatments over the past year and a half costing him on an average of one and a half times the rent of each unit, each time. He was losing money fast and feared he would never get ahead of it and reached out to me.

Once I explained what was happening within his property and gave him tips on how to get ahead of it, he now understands how his innocent ignorance created part of the battle and his pest control company never filled him in to the truth about bed bugs.

Placing Blame

I often ask people if one hundred people walked across a lawn and seven of them had fleas jump on them – who’s fault is it? How about your child that went to school and played touch football with Johnny who had head lice (but no one knew it) – and your child came home with head lice – who’s fault is it?

It’s kind of the same thing with bed bugs. They are parasites and can be just about anywhere you visit where people congregate. You may sit waiting for your appointment at the social security office and have one crawl on you – at the doctor’s office – work – your school auditorium, the gym or at your favorite restaurant.

Pointing fingers doesn’t accomplish anything. Sure you might have a tenant that isn’t “the ideal” tenant but all in all, life gives us enough guilt and shame and adding bed bugs to the mix only exacerbates bad feelings.

The Saboteur Is the Bed Bug

Anyone can get bed bugs at any time. It’s not your fault – you did nothing wrong – it is what it is.

Not always is the tenant at fault for bringing in bed bugs because they can be in an adjacent unit which when the tenant moves out the bed bugs start to forage for survival food.

Most people who rent, once they hear of or encounter a bed bug problem in their unit or building want to move. The most common question I ask of those who rent is; “if your landlord educated you on bedbugs and had regular inspections, would that make you want to stay?” The answer was ABSOLUTLY! It’s so much better than being made to feel that it is all their fault. One of the main reasons renters turn to self-treating is that they are afraid to tell their landlords they have them for fear of being evicted or shamed or having to pay extra for treatments.

Now I don’t know about you, but having a full building with good paying, long term renters is the goal of any property owner. Turnovers cost money! That tenant retention means not having to shell out money to prepare a unit for rental, which may stay vacant for a while sucking the life out of your ROI.

Bed Bug Education

Your best return on investment is proper bed bug education and regular inspections. I can’t stress this enough! This increases your properties desire for people to live and helps you to avoid expensive turnovers. Talking about bed bugs and informing your tenants that you want your building to remain as safe as possible at all times, creates a true intrinsic value for you and your tenants.

Helpful Tips:

(If possible and available in your area) Hire a professional bed bug detection dog team to inspect your properties quarterly.

This will keep any introduction of bed bugs to a minimum and make it much easier to rid them when they show up. Inspections less than quarterly will allow bed bugs to go through more than two or more breeding cycles, which lead to infestations. (Eggs hatch and nymph bed bugs grow to adults in approximately six to eight weeks -with regular blood meals and temperature condition specific- causing new breeders)

Create incentives for your tenants should they spot a problem in-between inspections. No one likes a snitch but if a tenant should notice another bring in secondhand furniture or see’s someone dumping their mattress in the trash, they need to tell you. This can help to avoid a serious problem.

You Get More with Honey

Putting anyone on the defense with bed bugs will cause more problems than you need to deal with. Tenants hide physically and emotionally and come up with the most bizarre excuses and attempt self-treatments that spread them even further, so be careful out there.

Always call your tenants or knock on their door; the human bond goes much further than slapping a notice on their door with accusations. Start with; it has come to our attention that “we may” have a bed bug problem in your building and “we” want to protect our tenants from “infestations” of bed bugs. We will be conducting an inspection on XXX so we can resolve any problems before they get out of hand.

Give them amble time of 5 to 7 days. We will be using a specialized Bed Bug Scent Detection Dog Team. Please understand that there are some things that need to be done to prepare for the dog team to inspect. (Hand them a prep list) Tell them, for the safety of the team, it is imperative that the list is complete. Let them know this is a service to protect the building and safety of the tenants and there is no extra charge.

Believe me, the cost of having regular scent detection pales in comparison to the cost of constant reactionary treatments over a years’ time. And if you don’t think you can afford it, call me and I will show you a way to have all your detection and remediation services paid for without coming out of your own pocket.

Stress the importance of having their unit prepared for the day of inspection and that you all have to work together. Let them know that if they don’t properly prepare they will have to pay for a re-scheduling fee of $100- 125.00 so please make sure you are fully prepared for the teams.

In cases of handicapped or elderly persons, find a way to offer a service to help them at a nominal cost.

Talk About Bed Bugs

It is no secret that bed bugs are plaguing our nation and will continued to do so for several decades to come. The more people that get their heads out of the sand and talk about them will help others to speak up as well. Take the shame away and realize that bed bugs are here to stay and have now made it into the list of standard household bugs like mosquitoes, fleas, cockroaches and spiders.

The IBBRA has written 13 educational books on bed bugs in all different venues and has built an organization of professional bed bug control companies’ detection dog teams and product manufacturers that are committed to helping people with their bed bug issues. Our Think like a Bed Bug book for complete bed bug awareness includes What NOT TO DO and is available to all property owners to hand to their tenants.

Call us for deep discounted prices! 888-966-2332 888-9-NOBEDBUGS

We are here to help! www.ibbra.org

 

 

IBBRA Opens K9 Certification Division

Today, the intrinsic value of qualified Bed Bug Scent Detection K9 Teams is growing. These dog teams assist in not only finding early stages of bed bugs to help avoid infestations, but for proofing conditions clear of bed bugs after a treatment is administered. As bed bugs continue to proliferate worldwide, the demand for more skilled dog teams and qualified certifying bodies will also continue to grow.

 

Advanced Handler Training

Throughout the years, the IBBRA has worked closely with select organizations that train and certify scent detection dogs for government, military, police, medical and pest control.

One of the biggest challenges is the lack of Advanced Handler Training. Many Bed Bug K9 teams are struggling to perfect their skills with little to no professional training outside of a few days when acquiring their K9. Furthermore, the costs for handler training can exceed the cost of two fully trained dogs, which many cannot afford and cannot afford time off their work schedules to attend. Let’s face it, becoming a proficient handler comes with learning, direction, time and experience.

Aside from team proficiency, not all environments provide the same situations and the team has to be able to adapt to them. Honing your animal behavior skills helps you to address and correct problems when they occur to fine-tune you as a team.

IBBRA Evaluators/Certifying Officials (ECO)

The IBBRA carefully chooses their certifying bodies to help address and assist those who need support in advanced handler training. Our ECO’s are measured by professional ethics, skill, achievement, experience and commitment. Each of our ECO’s is highly experienced; handler trainers who provide affordable advanced trainings to K9 teams. We recently have six (6) ECO’s in the US and Canada and are adding more each month. We want to make it easier for teams to be certified and be able to take trainings closer to where they live and not have to acquire unnecessary costs to fly their teams to different destinations.

Our ECO’s will work directly with K9 Teams; submit an evaluation and help you achieve the defining skills needed to improve and sharpen your handling skills. Our ECO’s will be listed on the IBBRA web site. If you are having difficulties finding an official near you, please contact one of our board members or training directors for assistance.

Our Standards

There is no set standard for certifying these teams like police; however, we follow the same guidelines used to test other scent detection teams developed by the Bed Bug Foundation in Europe combined with experience of bed bug K9 trainers/handlers here in the US. The Examination consists of a written and practical test. All information will be up on the IBBRA web site by the end of June 2017

I would like to take a moment to introduce the IBBRA K9 Certification Division Board of Directors:

A.T.S. K9 Ltd
SID MURRAY
484 Hwy 20, RR #3 Fenwick, Ontario L0S 1C0
905 892-4700
www.atsk9detection.com/
atsk9@vaxxine.com

With close to 30 years in the industry, Sid comes to us with a long linage of professional k9 scent training and handling. Founder of PAWS International Detection Services, Sid’s talents extend worldwide. With over 20 years of providing drug searches for Lake Carriers from Montreal to Sarnia and being the former Director of CADA (Canine Accelerant Detection Association) and Former Vice President Fire K9 from California, his name is well known in the industry.

His training includes landmine detection, which no doubt has to be spot on! Aside from being a seminar leader and speaker on scent detection, from border checks to Tailgate parties for the Maple Leafs, Sid’s life is dedicated to scent detection K9s and their handlers.

COMPLETE CANINE1
EXCELLENCE IN SCENT DETECTION AND TRAINING
Corey Walter Peladeau
16 Groton Rd
Tyngsboro, MA 01879
(978)-799-1828
completecanine1@gmail.com

Cory began his career in training single and multi-purpose canines for law enforcement and private sectors. As a K9 handler, trainer and specialized breeder, he focuses in elite training methodologies identifying and developing individual canines for working careers.

As a Handler Instructor for these agencies, Cory provides from basic K9 detection through advanced obedience, personal protection, and private contract specialized imprinting and detection. Since 2008, Cory has provided his professional services to the Westford PD’s, Special Services Division as Head Training Officer, where he authors, does canine acquisitions, develops methodologies and implements SOP’s.

His disciplines include, Multi-purpose Canine Handler/Operator for Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT. • Instructor of K9 Patrol School, K9 Narcotics School, K9 Explosive Detection, Large Quantity Narcotics Detection Program, Homeland Security Drug Law Enforcement Training, Active Shooter Levels 1 & 2, MPTC Firearms, MPTC Defense Tactics, Israeli Special Forces Krav Maga Defensive Tactics, Sig Armorer, and Taser training.

Complete Canine1 certified the IBBRA’s first Bed Bug Detection Dog Team.

K-9 Advanced Detection

Elad Bachar/Head Trainer
www.advanceddetectionservice.com
Office: 855-729-7252

As an International K-9 trainer and breeder, Elad Bachar has more than 20 years of experience. The working dogs at Advanced Detection are trained as single and multipurpose canines, bed bug scent detection and narcotic detection dogs. In his former military career, he was selected to become an instructor to train many handlers and dogs for explosive detection.  His last overseas position was one of Head Trainer at Ben Gurion International Airport supervising eight teams of dogs totaling 16 canines.  This airport has one of the tightest security procedures in the world. Over recent years, Elad has successfully trained over 200 dogs in explosives detection for sale in the global market.

As the Head Trainer at Advanced Detection, Elad directed all aspects of canine training from pets to detection. In addition, he has been working with many area police departments in Illinois and Indiana as well as the Northfolk Southern Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad.  Working with Pups for Peace, Elad was afforded the opportunity to work with eight US Homeland Security Officers in Israel including tactical urban combat training.  All of this is supported with continuous experience and extensive training in IPO-Working Dogs Sport Club competing in three (3) different Schutzhund Dogs (IPO 2 and IPO3)

OQUIRRHBERG KENNELS
JUDITH GUTHRIE
2440 E Little Patterson Rd
Wendover, UT 84083
R 385-229-0742, J 775-990-9100

https://www.facebook.com/Oquirrhberg-Kennels
tigeegracey@gmail.com
http://www.oquirrhbergkennels.com/
Utah, Nevada, portions of Colorado, Idaho, and Arizona

Judith, raised with working dogs since childhood, heads up the Bed Bug Detection Division of OQUIRRHBERG KENNELS and has been involved in the training of detection and patrol dogs for police, government, and private agencies throughout the United States including training detection canines for narcotics, explosives, bed bugs, and human remains.

On the competition side, she has multiple titles in Agility, Obedience, Rally, and K9 Nose Work. Her current competition dog, a mixed breed rescue she hand raised from 3 days old, is a national level competitor in K9 Nose Work Dog with his Elite 2 title in the NACSW organization. Professionally she handles several bed bug detection canines, a narcotics detection canine, and an up and coming explosives dog for private businesses and families in the western United States.

ROCKSOLID K-9

Nicole Reusser, Certified Nose Work Instructor (CNWI)
15375 Barranca Pkwy, H101
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 424 3859
info@rocksolidk9.com
http://www.rocksolidk9.com

Nicole began training professional scent detection in 2003, starting with Search and Rescue. Her interest in this field led to additional detection areas and soon she trained numerous canines for a variety of scent detection including narcotics, explosives, bio and bed bugs. Working with her favorite breed, the Malinois, she became involved in IPO/Schutzhund and competition and the Malinois rescue.

GREAT BIG LESSON FOR APARTMENT OWNERS, AND TENANTS WITH BED BUGS!

One of the biggest problems I hear about is property owners that use Bed Bug Addendums to try to get out of paying for bed bug treatments. Not that addendums are a bad thing – it’s how they are written that I have a problem with.

Even though I have received many calls like this over the years, this story is based on the most recent call I received: (names, location and unit numbers have been changed to protect confidentiality of my caller)

Ms. Stacy rents apartment 1552. On Sunday afternoon, she goes into the leasing office to sign her paperwork. As she is sitting at the desk, a Bed Bug Addendum is slid across the desk with a few paragraphs about bed bugs on another sheet of paper. The leasing agent did not take the time to explain that with bed bugs on the rise, it was an important document to read.

Since the stack of papers is reasonably thick and her moving van is showing up any moment, she feels pressured and signs it along with the stack of other documents that no one ever reads. Eighteen pages of size 9 fonts written in legal terms that unless you’re an attorney you wouldn’t understand – she is thinking to herself, I never had bed bugs; don’t have bed bugs, so it is not applicable to me.

She moves into the apartment. Boxes are stacked high as she unpacks a couple of boxes with her clothing for work the next day. Her mattress and box springs are neatly stacked on the frame with no sheets as she crawls into bed with only a pillow and single blanket to cover her.

8 hours later

The following morning she wakes exhausted from the previous days move and stumbles to the bathroom scratching her neck and upper arm. She jumps into a hot shower and prepares herself for work. All during the day, she is scratching herself assuming that with her sensitive skin and often acquired allergies that she had hives from the stress of the move.

She returns home from work and proceeds to unpack boxes and arrange her apartment. Late that night she jumps into a hot bath and retires for the evening.

Another 8 hours later

The following morning she wakes again with more red itchy marks on her body. She goes to work and two other employees notice the marks on her neck. Blowing it off she remarks, I’ve been a nervous wreck with the move and all, I think I have hives.

Several more days pass and she is seriously looking forward to finishing her unpacking and getting her apartment settled over the weekend.

Day 6 residing in apartment

Saturday morning she woke once again with even more red itchy marks on her body. This time, they were on the side of her face and along her side all the way down to her waist. Since the real stress of the move was behind her, she couldn’t understand why she would still be getting hives.

With the majority of her apartment put together, she decided to go and lay out at the pool to relax. While lying there, a woman from the next building introduced herself to Ms. Williams. “Hi, I’m Suzy and live in building 3 are you new here?”

“Yes, I moved in last Sunday. How long have you lived here?”

“I’ve been here for three months but am getting ready to move the hell out of here!”

“What! Why?

“The place is full of bed bugs everywhere”, she exclaimed. “By the looks of your skin they’ve already gotten to you too!”

“I thought it was hives from me stressing so much over the move!”

“Well, if you go to the office, be prepared. They will say you should have notified them within 48 hours or you get to pay to get rid of them! Like we even know what the stupid things are.”

“What?” “Ya, didn’t you read the addendum?”

“No, I thought it didn’t pertain to me, I’ve never had bed bugs”.

“Well sweetie, you basically agreed that if you didn’t find bed bugs within 48 hours of you moving in and you should discover them any time after that, you get to flip the bill to get rid of them. AND, if a unit surrounding you complains after you do, you get to flip the bill for them too!”

“Don’t beat yourself up girl, I fell for it to!”

Consider this a lesson learned. However, it gets worse.

Being handed an addendum stating you (a layperson who is not trained in insects) have to do an inspection for insects that you have no clue what they are or look like, or signs of and advise management of any bed bugs in the unit within 48 hours is not even possible for a tenant and here’s why:

The owner is asking a tenant (layperson) to do an inspection that in most states requires a license to do so. In many states, a home inspector can’t perform an inspection for termites and other pests unless he or she has a license to do so.

In states that don’t require inspectors to be licensed, you still need to make certain that the inspector you choose has some education, training, or experience in dealing with insects and pests in multi-unit properties.

Yes, you heard it right. A tenant (layperson) is not qualified to inspect, so how would they expect or hold a tenant responsible to inspect when anyone that does inspections requires either an education or a professional license?

Second, the unit (in most situations) has been cleaned, painted or new carpet installed. Any leftover signs of bed bugs have been scrubbed or painted over and “if” there were bed bugs in the unit, they now have hidden themselves in, behind or in inaccessible areas where even a professional could not find signs of them.

These types of cases are hitting the courts and unfortunately for owners, they are losing and the tenants are winning.

Hidden Facts

I just received another call from a woman who resides in an apartment complex who just discovered bed bugs. She refuses to tell the landlord she has seen bed bugs because she signed a Bed Bug Addendum and is fully aware that will hold her responsible to pay for treatment. I asked her how she knew the bed bugs weren’t coming in from a surrounding unit and she replied, “I don’t care where they are coming from, I just want them gone!”

Even after me advising her to contact her landlord or property management group immediately because they may be coming in from a surrounding unit; she stated, “I’m not playing that game with them, I am going to the store and is doing it myself. All she wanted to know from me was what worked and what didn’t when it comes to getting rid of bed bugs. I basically told her to get out her steamer and go to work.

This type of situation is so much more common than not. Hundreds of tenants across the nation are self-treating with the thought in mind, that a spray here and there is going to get rid of bed bugs. AGAIN – non educated laypersons DO NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. The very same people that the landlord is holding responsible for “inspecting” for bed bugs when they move in.

Yet another backfire for the landlord. Bed bugs will threaten the structural integrity of the whole building not by “eating their way through like other insects like Termites”, but by filling the wall voids, cracks and crevices with hundreds and thousands of eggs (which eventually hatch and seek out a blood meal).

She will continue to force them into the wall voids and further spread them throughout the building. When others complain, the owner will run around trying to hold someone else responsible when in essence, the “building” will have a problem which is ultimately the owner responsibility with or without tenants.

You can see why it is ridicules to hold a tenant responsible; it will always backfire. So property owners, what are you doing out there? Without doing your due diligence of regular professional inspections using scent detection dog teams and educating your tenants, you lose every time.

I know because it is YOUR TENANTS that are calling me.

I’ve even received calls from landlords that literally walked away from their buildings because the cost for remediation of structural bed bug problems were greater than they could afford and the bank took it back.

Even though there is no law requiring you to get an insect inspection, it’s just the smart thing to do, considering the investment in the building. I believe in the future, banks and mortgage lenders will require regular bed bug inspections to protect its interest.

Reach out – we are here to help!

www.ibbra.org 888-966-2332 888-9NOBEDBUGS

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0136462 M-r-r technique and the use of pitfall-style interceptors are effective methods for studying bed bug movement under field conditions and to estimate bed bug populations. Nymphs and adult bed bugs of both sexes are very mobile and travel extensively throughout apartments. Bed bugs have the ability to disperse from occupied and vacant apartments to neighboring apartments. Bed bugs can survive at least 4.5 months of starvation at field conditions. These findings have important implications on bed bug management and eradication programs. Movement of bed bugs away from predictable locations such as beds and upholstered furniture within apartments may complicate control efforts, making it more difficult to eradicate bed bugs and determine when infestations have been eliminated. The active dispersal of bed bugs between apartments suggests inspecting surrounding units, including apartments across the hallway from known infestations, is necessary.

 

Bedbugs Absentee, and Just Plain Irresponsible Idiot Landlords

The most recent bout of calls that I have been receiving is from tenants dealing with bed bug issues and landlords not responding well.

I’m already seeing eyes roll back in heads. Sure, there are those tenants that are just horrible and I get that. Nevertheless, there are those who are not and don’t deserve the treatment they are getting.

If they do respond to a bed bug complaint, the landlord sends in a maintenance worker, employee or friend that sprays the baseboards with who knows what.

In one case, the landlord handed the tenant a one gallon sprayer with Phantom (which he uses every time someone moves) and told them to spray it whenever they see a bug and when they run out to call him and he will fill it up again. On top of it, he was never told not to use it on his bed or couch. And we wonder why there are resistance issues with bed bugs?

Another tenant told me the prep sheet he received from his landlord was from a small company on the other side of the US. So what they’re doing is finding whatever they can on the net, printing it out and using it for their tenants.

I had a call from a resident who resided in a complex that had been throwing up and experiencing headaches since the landlord sprayed for bed bugs two weeks ago. He said he literally soaked his apartment, the apartment next door and upstairs and all the hallways and elevator. The fumes were so pungent that he got sick. I ask him to check the material safety data sheet (MSDS), and tell me what chemicals or products were used and his reply was, “I didn’t get any paperwork”. He thought he had the flu but wasn’t getting any better. I suggested he went to the doctor and also request a chemical sheet.

Active public bed bug education is one of the most important aspects of owning rental property yet many owners, either ignore the facts or hide from it. This sheer ignorance is running rampant. Starting with examining the relationship between bed bugs and dwelling conditions, many owners cover-up the fact that bed bugs existed in a unit when re-leasing to a new tenant.

People – More is not better!

As I’ve written about before, the average human mentality is that if one is good – more is better. It’s often thought that soaking baseboards with a pesticide with a residual in an empty unit will do the trick of eliminating them, when in essence; because it also can work as a repellant, it can force them deeper into wall voids and spreads them to adjacent or surrounding units. If you can see a bed bug – you can kill the bed bug – problem is – they hide where most cannot see.

The bed bugs survival is blood, and they will always forage for their next meal, and if a unit is empty, they will move through the wall voids or where ever they can to obtain a blood meal in a human occupied unit.

With all the resistance issues with commonly used pesticides nowadays, and the fact that it does nothing to the eggs, it a wonder that any of the bed bugs are killed at all.

Frequently, bed bugs spread throughout whole buildings before management is finally forced to pay attention. Either a group of tenants gets together and goes to community housing directors or a lawsuit may be filled.

Having answered thousands of Bed Bug Hotline calls, I’m continually presented with the struggles tenants have when approaching their property owners with a possible bed bug problem. Immediate blame and shame is placed on the tenant who is suffering in an attempt to get them to pay for remediation.

Fear of eviction leads to hiding ineffective attempts of self-treatment by the tenant while the bed bugs are taken to work or anywhere the tenant may go, spread to adjoining units and throughout whole buildings.

Some tenants tell me that their landlord just doesn’t take it serious.

I’m sent pictures of and am told of piles of bedbug soiled mattresses and used furniture are leaned up against buildings as people attempt to rid themselves of bed bugs by throwing away items. This remains a fruitless effort as the bed bugs crawl off and back into the building to infiltrate yet another innocent victim’s apartment. Before long, there isn’t an apartment that hasn’t a bed bug problem.

Just because you can’t see it – it doesn’t mean that it is not happening

Most of the landlords are absentee owners who depend upon a management group or a relative to run things for them. It’s all about the end of the year returns that they are interested in and refuse to apply proper elimination and prevention techniques because of the cost.

Yet, they will pay each time they have a breakout. It never did make any sense to me that a small amount up front would make a significant difference in controlling future outbreaks.

In my professional opinion, none these chemicals should be sold to anyone who does not have a hold a professional license!

Tenants are left powerless to control bed bugs!

Helping tenants get past the thought that bed bugs are a sanitation issue and it is always their fault isn’t easy. Because such guilt and shame is ladled upon them, they often hide the fact they have them and attempt                  self-treatments.

It’s hard enough for a professional to contain a bed bug problem in multi-unit properties better yet shaming, guilting or leaving it up to a non-professional lay person.

Licensed to find bed bugs

I have to laugh at the stupidity of the bed bug addendums out there. Especially, the ones here in the state of Texas. It states that the tenant has 48 hours to let the management know whether there are bed bugs in the unit they are moving into. After that point, if you call with a bed bug complaint, the tenant has to pay for elimination. And get this: if bed bugs are found in surrounding units – you have to pay for them as well.

How stupid is this!

The law is – anyone that identifies bugs for a living has to have a professional license to do so. This also includes scent detection dog teams in many states.

Now tell me, how can a landlord or property management group insist that an uneducated, unprofessional tenant find bed bugs as a lay person, would they not need a license to do so?

How can they possibly be held responsible? Most tenants don’t even know what a bed bug is!

I hope there are plenty of property owners and management groups reading this blog. It is time you all wake up, take action and be responsible in the case of bed bugs in your properties. Whether you like it or not, bed bugs are here to stay and dumping blame on anyone for getting bed bugs is shameful when you too can fall victim to them. Maybe you should move into your bed bug ridden property yourself and live with it for a while to see exactly what your tenants have to go through. Quality of life and stress of bed bugs can make a normal person crazy!

How can we as a nation, cope with this growing crisis if property owners and management are not educating tenants, having regular professional inspections and following up to make sure your tenants and building is safe? If you are not doing these things to protect your property and your tenants, you’re a sorry example of a landlord and the finger of blame can be pointed directly to you for failing to do what is required to control bed bug outbreaks in your community.

It is YOUR tenants that are taking bed bugs attached to their personal items back into the community, to work, others homes and anywhere they should go.

We’re here to help!